Filmmaking Challenge: Telling the Story of a City Revitalization Initiative

Client: Urban Land Institute

Challenge

ULI launched a new initiative to help local governments across the country reimagine the design of auto­-dominated corridors in their cities. The areas have heavy levels of traffic, few sidewalks, no green spaces or places to gather… basically, ULI wanted GBA to make a video about the ugliest places in the country. We knew our work was cut out for us.

Strategy

GBA led the creative direction of the scripted documentary in pre­-production to define the messaging and sound bites that the team aimed to elicit from interviewees. These authentic interviews are further clarified by a scripted voiceover. In planning the visuals that would be captured for the project, GBA knew the team would only travel to two cities to capture the work being done in two corridors the initiative was targeting, and looked for ways to make the most of that time.

Initially, ULI had scheduled GBA to interview and film local meetings about the corridors in the two cities, but GBA was able to shape the schedule of events for each gathering so that there would be ample time to capture the working groups’ walking tour of each corridor, which played a big role in the final visuals of the piece.

In post-production, GBA wanted to convey the experience of being in the corridor, and worked to develop the audio of the piece that would amplify the effect of the visuals. Quick and erratic transitions added to the unsettling effect of the opening moments.

Results

The Urban Land Institute was extremely happy with the final scripted documentary. “Green Buzz was wonderful to work with in producing a video that helped explore an important topic and program for my organization: healthy corridor redevelopment,” said Sara Hammerschmidt, Director of Content at ULI. “The attention to detail and consistent communication throughout the entire process—from pre- to post-production—was critical in ensuring that the final product was exactly what we wanted. To this day the video gets compliments and has proven to be a wonderful resource to share with colleagues and our partners to raise awareness about the challenges with commercial corridors.”

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